Aiming to gather even more participation, Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz urges returning OFW seafarers, along with their families, to join the 2016 DOLE-NRCO-ISP business plan competition.

 

Baldoz made this call during the launching of the second edition of the nationwide competition which aims to encourage social entrepreneurship among OFW seafarers and families and eventually support the growth of jobs in hometowns and communities.

 

“The continuation of this competition, which started to accept entries on 22 June 2016 and until 11 November 2016, reinforces the DOLE’s reintegration program efforts in securing the future of our OFWs and their families by helping them make sound decisions in investing their hard-earned money,” said Baldoz.

 

The competition, dubbed “From Seafarers to Entrepreneurs: The 2016 NRCO-ISP Business Plan Competition (Harnessing Seafarers’ Capacities for Business Enterprises Development),” is led by the National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO), an attached agency of the DOLE, in partnership with the Integrated Seafarers of the Philippines (ISP).

 

It can be recalled that the NRCO-ISP undertaking was piloted last year. It received 40 qualified business plans, and eight of them has competed in the final round.

 

Notching the grand prize was seafarer William Gaspay for his Seaweeds Farming project proposal, which is now operational and a running business in Masinloc, Zambales.

 

NRCO Director Chona Mantilla said active seafarers planning to retire or start their own business, and even inactive seafarers who have been in the Philippines for not more than five years, may join this year’s competition.

 

She added that seafarers who are 25 years old and above may enter solo, in pair, in group, or have at least one official representative who will handle the required tasks and activities for the competition.

 

The screening round for this year’s competition will be on 2,9,16 and 23 September, or depending on the volume of entries received by the NRCO.

 

The top 10 shortlisted entries will be announced also in September, and posted in the NRCO and ISP Facebook Page and official websites.

 

Moreover, the mentoring round is scheduled on October, while the final round is set on 11 November 2016.

 

“The grand winner will receive P500,000 cash prize in three trenches and get assistance of local government units in availing business registration and other services. Consolation prizes also await the remaining nine finalists, all to be sponsored again by the ISP,” said Mantilla.

 

Mantilla added that this year’s business competition is covered by a project implementation agreement (PIA) she had signed on 1 June 2016 with ISP President Capt. Gaudencio Morales.

 

The Integrated Seafarers of the Philippines is a non-stock and non-profit organization formed and established for the welfare of Filipino seafarers and their families.

 

“The DOLE-NRCO ISP partnership is an avenue for our seafarers to learn business, and is aimed for better recognition of Filipino seafarers. It is a continuing effort to achieve our goal of empowering our seafarers,” said Capt. Morales during the launching.

 

The NRCO, on the other hand, is mandated to develop, promote and implement a national agenda on sustainable return and reintegration to address the multi-faceted reintegration needs of returning Overseas Filipino workers and their families, including the development of their hometowns or communities.

 

“The primary clientele of the NRCO are returning OFWs who are classified as undocumented Overseas Filipino Workers; displaced, distressed and repatriated OFWs; returning OFWs or OFWs who return to the Philippines on a temporary basis with the intention of going back abroad; OFW returnees or OFWs who return to the Philippines with the intention to stay in the country on a permanent basis; and families of returning OFWs,” Mantilla explained.

 

For more information on the 2016 NRCO-ISP Business Plan Competition, please visit www.facebook.com/dole.nrco, www.nrco.dole.gov.ph, www.isp.org.ph and www.facebook.com/isphilippines.

 

END/Tim Laderas

 

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